Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell, 49, announced her departure from the BBC show after seven years earlier this month. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Louis Smith MBE, 30, said he wasn’t shocked by her exit and would like to see Anton Du Beke, 52, replace her. The retired gymnast, who is currently fronting Huawei’s new campaign with the RSPCA, said: “It was news, I wouldn’t exactly say it’s a shock. When I read the article about her going to focus on other things and desires, you know, it kind of makes sense.”
Louis added of Darcey: “I’m sad to see her leave, but I’m happy that she’s got her eyes set on something else and will enjoy something different.”
He said of her potential replacement: “I think someone like Anton Du Beke will do well. He’s charming, he’s got a lot of of dancing knowledge and he’s been around for a long time.”
When asked if he would be up for the panelist job himself, Louis insisted he didn’t have enough dance knowledge, adding: “Especially to replace someone like Darcey”.
During his time on the show, Louis danced with professional dancer Flavia Cacace, 39, who left the professional line-up following their victory.
When asked if she could potentially be returning to the show, Louis said of their recent meeting: “She didn’t hint at anything.
“I don’t know if she’s got anything planned secretly, but nothing of the obvious.”
Earlier this month, Darcey confirmed her exit from the show, telling fans her decision to leave was not “because of any upset or disagreement at all”.
As part of a lengthy statement, in view of her 173,000 followers, she wrote: “I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can’t imagine having gone any better.”
She continued: “I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dancers, the musicians, the entire back stage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive.”
Elsewhere, Louis is currently fronting Huawei’s new campaign with the RSPCA to help find ‘furever’ homes for the UK’s unadopted animals.
According to statistics, 25 per cent of people said a poor-quality picture of a prospective pet would put them off adopting.
44 per cent of people also said a pet’s physical appearance is important to them.
Louis has been getting involved with taking pictures of pets using a Huawei P30 Pro device in a bid to improve their profile.
His efforts have been captured in a mini documentary named The Unadoptables, which highlights what can be done to ensure pets get the best chance to find a loving home.
He said: “Huawei got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to be involved; they know I’ve got a dog and that I’m an animal lover.
“I was like, ‘Yes get me on board, I will be happy to help!’”
Louis added he is “100 per cent” confident in the outcome saying: “I think it’s a game changer in terms of what they’ve used.
“I think the animals are going to have a better time. The camera is absolutely insane.”
For more information please visit: https://consumer.huawei.com/uk/campaign/huawei-unadoptables/